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Watch the Nels Cline 4 Perform "Imperfect 10" from Their Debut Album, 'Currents, Constellations'

The Nels Cline 4 (from left): drummer Tom Rainey, bassist Scott Colley and guitarists Julian Lage and Nels Cline.

The Nels Cline 4 (from left): drummer Tom Rainey, bassist Scott Colley and guitarists Julian Lage and Nels Cline. (Image credit: Nathan West)

Guitarist Nels Cline, best known for his work with Wilco, the Nels Cline Singers and the Nels Cline Trio, has debuted his latest project, the Nels Cline 4. The band, which also happens to feature master jazz guitarist Julian Lage, will release their debut album, Currents, Constellations, April 13 via Blue Note.

You can watch the combo—which includes bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey—perform the disc's lead-off single, “Imperfect 10,” live in the studio below. The track is available to stream or download today.

Of all the projects Cline has pursued since the late Eighties, his work with Lage, documented on 2014's Room, ranks among the most powerful. “When Julian and I started playing together it kicked my ass hard,” Cline told JazzTimes in 2014. “At the same time, it inspired me and refreshed my soul.” Lage declared he had “found his people” playing with Cline: “At last I found a scenario where…you could be free and adventurous, you could utilize sound and be extremely melodic and evocative.”

“Even in the earliest days of the duo, we used to say, ‘I wonder what we’d do if we ever had a rhythm section,’” Cline says. In 2016 he decided to find out; he invited Colley and Rainey to collaborate during a residency at The Stone in New York. “I brought in a few themes and we just kind of went for it. Everyone was enthusiastic about continuing the work.”

On Currents, Constellations Cline embraces sparser but edgier instrumentation, which serves the adventurous thrust of the music, which brims with raw energy and beauty.

The Nels Cline 4 will celebrate the album’s release with an April 16 show at (le) poisson rouge in New York. Tickets go on sale noon EST March 9. A European tour will follow, with Cline joined by Lage, Rainey and bassist Jorge Roeder. You can see all the dates below.

For more about the Nels Cline 4 and their new album, step right this way. For more about Cline, visit

Currents, Constellations Track List:
1. Furtive (Cline)
2. Swing Ghost '59 (Cline)
3. Imperfect 10 (Cline)
4. As Close As That (Cline)
5. Amenette (Cline)
6. Temporarily (Carla Bley)
7. River Mouth (Parts 1 & 2) (Cline)
8. For Each, a Flower (Cline)

2018 Tour Dates:
April 16 — New York, NY — (le) poisson rouge — ON SALE 3/9
April 20 – Geneva, CH – AMR - Sud des Alpes
April 21 – Oslo, NO – Nasjonal Jazzscene, Victoria
April 25 – Berlin, DE – ZigZag Club
April 26 – Madrid, ES – Sala Clamores
April 27 – Munich, DE – Unterfahrt Jazzclub
April 28 – Ferrara, IT – Torrione San Giovanni – Jazz Club Ferrara
April 30 – Istanbul, TU – Babylon Bomonti Istanbul
May 2 – Kortrijk, BE –Belgium De Kreun
May 4 – Liége, BE – La Cité Miroir

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.